When They Fall in Love: Darcy and Elizabeth in Italy, by Mary Lydon Simonsen – A Review

When they Fall in Love, by Mary Simonen (2013) From the desk of Kimberly Denny Ryder:

When I found out that Mary Lydon Simonsen was writing a Pride and Prejudice inspired book that took place in Italy I was so excited! Ever since I was able to travel to Italy two years ago I’ve loved it more and more and I can’t wait to go back. Now, reading about the combination of my two favorite literary characters with Florence was enough to make me want to go out and buy the book ASAP, and that’s exactly what I did once it came out! So, without further ado, let’s travel to Italy.

We all remember Mr. Darcy’s failed proposal to Elizabeth Bennet at the Hunsford Parsonage. When They Fall in Love picks up several years later, with much occurring in the interim, including Darcy marrying another woman, fathering a child, and becoming a widower. Now, he plans to live in a villa in the hills above Florence, Italy with his daughter, who is now six. He invites his friend Charles Bingley and his wife Jane, who now have a daughter, as well as Elizabeth, who acts as the governess for her niece. Although much has happened in the intervening years after Darcy’s failed proposal to Elizabeth, she is unsure if his love for her has withstood this test of time. Her own feelings towards him have grown tremendously, but she is apprehensive as to whether or not he reciprocates these feelings. What will become of their meeting against the beautiful backdrop of Italy?

Florence the Duomo cathedral x 350

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I fell in love with this book. Not only was it written by Simonsen (who is one of my favorite Austen fan fiction authors) but it takes place in one of my favorite places on Earth – Italy. Simonsen utilizes beautiful and illustrious language to describe the art, sights, and landscape of the country, and makes the reader feel as if he/she is right alongside Darcy and Elizabeth as they tour Florence. Simonsen writes, “With evening upon them, the rays of a setting sun were dancing on the roof of the Duomo, and Elizabeth had never seen anything so beautiful – not London – not Paris – but Firenze, the City of Flowers.”  Doesn’t that make you feel like you’re there? I’ve included some pictures of my own trip, especially those landmarks that are depicted in the story, to hopefully give you a better idea of the scenery.  I do have one small complaint, however, and it is regarding the point of view. For the vast majority of the work we are treated to Elizabeth’s perspective, so the short portions in which the point of view switches over to Darcy seemed a bit odd and seemed to disrupt the flow slightly. Other than that, however, this book was an amazing journey into yet another fun and exciting take on Darcy and Elizabeth’s love story. I heartily recommend it to all JAFF fans, of course, but I also tack on the additional recommendation to the travel lovers out there. If you can’t physically make it to Italy this is a fantastic alternative, and I know you’ll enjoy every minute.

Rape of the Sabine Women Michangelo Florence x 350

4 out of 5 Stars

When They Fall in Love: Darcy and Elizabeth in Italy, by Mary Lydon Simonsen
Quail Creek Publishing, LLC (2013)
Trade paperback (280) pages
ISBN: 978-0615790053

Cover image courtesy of Quail Creek Publishing © 2013; text Kimberly Denny Ryder © 2013, Austenprose

21 thoughts on “When They Fall in Love: Darcy and Elizabeth in Italy, by Mary Lydon Simonsen – A Review

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  1. Yes, I enjoyed this story while on a long car trip. Beautiful visuals and wonderful characterization so true to Simonsen’s previous efforts.


  2. Great review, Laurel Ann! My desire to go to Italy increased significantly after reading When They Fall in Love. What a beautiful country with so much history, and Mary captured it all along with our favorite couple!
    Your pictures are great! I can only imagine how much fun you had in Italy.


  3. Thank so much for the review, Kimberly, and for sharing your photos with us. Italy is beautiful. How I would love to go back. And stay for a wildly impractical amount of time. Like, a month! :)


  4. Thank you, Kimberly, for the wonderful review. After visiting Florence, I decided I had to write a book with the City of Flowers as the background. It took me ten years, but I finally got it done. My thanks to Laurel Ann for posting your review.


  5. Most of the time I more or less skim through reviews to see if something catches my interest. Usually the process ends with a ‘meh…’ and moving right along.

    Here though… well! “Italy” – hook! “Florence” – line! An alternate storyline where Darcy and Lizzy never got married, never smothed things out – sinker!

    Thanks for the delightful tip :) Actually, this has turned into happy catch; while searching for this one, Mr Darcy’s Bite also caught my eye – so now I’ve got two books for August that I can’t wait to start reading!


    1. I hope you enjoy When They Fall in Love. Since visiting Florence in 2003, I have wanted to write a story with Florence as the background. I hope you enjoy When They Fall in Love and Mr. Darcy’s Bite. I have a soft spot for my werewolf story. It’s a tale of love and acceptance. Thanks for stopping by.


  6. Thanks for the review Since starting the bicentennary challenge and having never read any JAFF before I am always on the look out for what to read next, glad I saw this review and am looking forward to reading this! Bonus I see Mary has written other books so will be checking them out also


      1. Hi Mary I couldn’t wait to read it so I got it that day,what a wonderful book I just finished the review for the challenge. I really want to go to Italy now, my son went on a football tour there and he hates ice cream but said it is totally different! While reading I wanted to be there so I could see the art myself, I could see myself living in that villa living the life if only I didn’t have to work. I thought it wouldn’t sit well with me that Darcy had married but this worked my only complaint I need part two!


        1. Hi Tamara. Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed When They Fall in Love. Who wouldn’t want to live in a villa overlooking Florence? Sorry. No part two. I’m no good at sequels. When They Fall in Love is as close as I’ve come to writing a sequel, but I appreciate your comments. :)


  7. I still don’t have blog so here’s my entry for July:
    Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) with Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth (Mr. Darcy) and Hugh Grant (Daniel Cleaver). I’ve seen this movie many times and rewatched for Bicentenary. This is a great modern day P&P. Bridget Jones is Elizabeth, (Hugh Grant) Daniel Cleaver is Mr. Wickham, and Mr. Darcy is, well, Mr. Darcy :) This movie has everything from 1st sunb to Daniel Cleaver’s (Wickham) deception to Mr. Darcy’s 1st declaration of affection & faults (no proposal). Also conflict (P&P = Wickham & Lydia’s Marriage/ Bridget Jones Diary = Cleaver & Darcy fight), then to final declaration of affection. I may have seen this movie as many times as I’ve seen P&P. The fight between Cleaver & Darcy is one of the best I’ve seen 2nd only to the second movie. LOL! I love the part when Darcy meets her friends. I truely fall in love with this Mr. Darcy.

    I also rewatched Pride & Prejudice (2005) with Keira Knightley & Matthew MacFadyen. Also seen many times. I love the way this movie is filmed. The part when they’re dancing & then get the feeling as if they are dancing alone is wonderful. The way Mrs. Bennet hollers for Elizabeth down the path to Mr. Bennet. The changes of Mr. Darcy’s affections on Matthew MacFadyen’s face. All the parts with Lizzie & Darcy. This film always makes me happy. I still get breathless when I see Mr. Darcy walking to Elizabeth to confess he still loves her. and his sweetness after they are married is so great. Only kiss in entire movie & most romantic movie ever!!


  8. I love your reviews. You make me want to read whatever you read. I have a long list to look for now. Thanks :)


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